Hindi in Tamil Nadu School

Hindi Arrogance at a Tamilnadu School

Lalitha Krishnan Nair

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February  2009 (ID. 2009-02-02)
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1. A News Report

2. Our Comments


Hindian - A person whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to 'Tamilan').

1. A News Report

A man from Rajasthan State, living in Tamil Nadu State for 13 years, went to enroll his son at a school in Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu. He submitted his son's birth certificate in Hindi. The clerk told the man to submit an English translation certified by a notary. The man refused to do so and went to the school again and again (at least three times) demanding that the Hindi certificate be accepted, and each time the school staff asked him to bring a certified English translation. 

It seems that this man contacted a "sympathetic" news reporter or the news reporter somehow got wind of this incidence, the NDTV website published a report with the provocative title "Chennai school takes anti-Hindi stand". The report ends with the following paragraph: "Tamil Nadu saw widespread anti-Hindi protests in the sixties against the then government's decision to adopt Hindi as the official language. Four decades on, aftershocks of those agitations are still felt. At the receiving end are children like ----- (name of the child)."

2. Our Comments

Our question to this father and the reporter is, "Will a school in Rajasthan or any Hindi state accept a birth certificate in Tamil?" It will not. Then why do these people expect a school in Tamilnadu to accept a Hindi certificate?

No Bengali would submit a birth certificate in Bengali to a school in Tamil Nadu or anywhere outside of Bengal. It is true with every language group except for some Hindians (people whose mother tongue is Hindi). This is the arrogance and a sense entitlement displayed by many Hindians that everyone in India should know Hindi because the Constitution of India specifies Hindi as the official language of India. Tamil Nadu does not accept Hindi as the official language. Hindi is not taught in our schools and should not be taught until Hindi states start teaching Tamil in their schools. Tamil Nadu State legislative assembly had voted against Hindi as the official language.

This father could have gotten a certified English translation in Chennai (there are some notaries who know English and Hindi in Indian government offices and banks) or could have sent it to Rajasthan and gotten a notary public to certify an English translation. Instead this arrogant father was going to the school again and again demanding that they accept the Hindi birth certificate. The NDTV reporter writes, "At the receiving end are children like -----." If this child had difficulty getting admitted to the Tamil Nadu school, his father is the responsible party, not the Tamil Nadu government or the school staff. As we said before, would a child get enrolled in a school in a Hindi state if the parent submits the birth certificate in Tamil?

This type of arrogance we see from quite a few Hindians. There was a news report many years ago of a Hindi politician in an Indian Airlines flight. He asked the hostess for something in Hindi and she did not understand it. The neighboring passenger translated it to the hostess and the arrogant Hindi politician said, "If she does not understand Hindi, I do not want it". We see the same mentality in this father also. (NOTE: Nowadays every hostess in Air India is required to know Hindi. However a hostesses flying from or to Tamil Nadu airports need not know Tamil. In fact I have been in flights within Tamil Nadu (Chennai to Trichi) where no staff knew Tamil.)

It is this type of arrogance and sense of entitlement of Hindi speakers living in other states that created a brief spurt of violence against Hindi speakers in Mumbai (Bombay) in February 2008. Some influential Hindi residents in the city tried to make Hindi an official language of Mumbai City. This was one reason for Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thakeray making a few fiery speeches and his supporters attacking a few taxi drivers and street vendors from Hindi belt states. While we disapprove of this violence, we do understand Maharashtrians' anger against Hindi speakers' arrogance and sense of entitlement everywhere they go in India.

"If Hindi were to become the official language of India, Hindi-speaking people will govern us. We will be treated like third rate citizens." - C. N. Annadurai, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister (speaking at a Public Meeting on April 29, 1963 at Chennai Marina (Madras Marina))

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FIS090124    2009-a1d

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